Sunday, January 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Thai Pork Stew

As I've mentioned, since Lillian's arrival the slow cooker has become my dinnertime lifeline. With winter in full-swing we're using it at least a few times a week. From the chicken pot pie featured on the cover of this month's Real Simple to my enchilada lasagna, any meal I can put together during Lilly's morning nap is a winner in my world. That said, this one was actually so easy I managed to get it into the crock pot before her nap, with one hand, while holding her on my hip (you're so impressed, right?).

Anyway, this recipe intrigued me simply because its different. I don't often see Thai flavors (or ethnic flavors of any variety) get the slow cooker treatment. The original version sounded awesome but potentially bland I made a few additions to add some additional depth to the flavor profile. The result was both hearty and exotic. A little bit spicy and slightly sweet but not overly so. Fresh lime juice, cilantro and scallions add just the right amount of freshness and tang in the finish. In fact despite some extreme skepticism on his part (I've had a track record of slow cooker fails), JiT declared this to be a "top five of all time" meal. Not to shabby.

Besides being simple its an insanely inexpensive meal. The original recipe calls for pork loin cut into chunks but while I was at the store I saw a few packs of boneless pork loin ribs on sale. I got over 1.5 lbs for about five bucks and they were already trimmed and portioned so I just had to dump them into the crock pot. If you can find them, its a serious time saver.

Take this as a warning -- with winter in full swing and (dare I even say this, Internet??) Lilly's morning nap schedule taking on some sense of predicability, I've got a whole arsenal of slow cooker recipes lined up. Of course, I'm always looking for more so if you have any recommendations please send them my way.

As a side note, I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback related to my last post about keeping it real. I also want to say thanks to those who inspired me to write it: thanks to Kate, Mandy and JB as well as this excellent article about motherhood that's been gaining a lot of attention recently (excellent read). I guess no matter what situation you might find yourself in, everybody needs a good reality check now and then.

What about you guys. Anybody found a new go-to recipe to make your life easier? Or given yourself permission to accept your reality for what it is?

Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Lime and Rice
Serves 2 generously
(Adapted from Cooking Light)

1.5 lbs. boneless pork loin ribs
2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (I used the jar handed cooking has its limits)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 medium red pepper, julienned into thin strips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional, more or less to your taste if you prefer a sweeter dish)
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Tabasco but Sriracha would be awesome)

6 cups hot, cooked basmati rice

Garnishes: Chopped cilantro, scallions, fresh lime wedges

Combine pork and the next six ingredients in your slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Pork should be tender enough to start falling apart when its ready.

30 minutes before serving, add the bell pepper strips peanut butter, brown sugar and Tabasco. Stir to combine evenly, cover and cook until peppers are tender.

To serve, spoon rice into bowls, ladle pork over top and garnish with cilantro, scallions and lime juice.

1 comment:

  1. Add this Pork Pazole recipe to your list - it is fabulous! Cumin is such a great spice - I don't use it nearly enough. I'm totally with you on the crock pot...yesterday I had a pot roast cooking in the crock pot and a big pot of chili cooking on the stove! We've got to get together soon...must catch up!


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